Mar 15, 2011

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Review: The Flying Hamster

Review: The Flying Hamster

PSN + members got this Mini title as a treat on Valentine’s Day in the shape of a Flying Hamster. This mini has all the charm of a Japanese cutesy anime ,and it’s a pretty entertaining side scroller to boot. You play as Newton, the flying hamster on a mission to save his girl hwo has been kidnapped. Though the plot is simple, the side scrolling action and the ridiculous humor combine to be one of the better mini’s I’ve played.

The story starts with the flying hamster, Newton, enjoying some Mai Tais on the beach when an evil eagle steals your babe. You then put on your old school leather aviator helmet and take to the sky with a Leaf-rotor helicopter backpack.

Levels take you from sky, to jungle, to caves while you shoot through several members of the animal species. You will encounter sea gulls, wasps, flying crabs, and of course, angry bears throwing fish (these hurt) through your journey to get back your Hamsterette.  Each level is divided into sections and at the end of which you encounter an equally ridiculous boss. The bosses can be tricky and require more than couple of tries to truly master. Beat them, however, and you are rewarded by being shown cut scenes of the heroic hamster on his quest.

The story is nicely integrated in between levels and adds a certain element to an otherwise very simple game. Not that there’s anything wrong with simple. Flying Hamster, though very cutesy, has at its very core a pretty fun shooter. There are several power-ups to be found in each level, which leads to an array of weapons that will keep any fan of the genre happy (If they don’t mind shooting apple spread shots, watermelon splash bombs, and sunflower-seed machineguns). That, on top of the fact that each weapon can be charged to unleash a much stronger version of the shot, keeps the game unique the entire play through. My only complaint was you never got enough ammo for the power-ups, so I didn’t get to use them as much as I would have liked.

Presentation wise, the graphics are pretty simple, very cartoony, very much an anmie vibe to it, especially the ridiculous characters. The soundtrack is similar to that of an old-school Super Nintendo title, but I never felt that it was over-bearing or annoying at any point in the game.

All in all this has been one of my favorite minis to come out in a while, and it was a pleasant surprise as a gift from Sony delivered directly to my inbox. The Flying Hamster is a charming and challenging side scroller that definitely stands out from the other minis in the genre. If you’re looking for a fun and quirky shooter, or you have always had a thing for hamsters, pick this one up.

The Flying Hamster
Platform: PS3 (reviewed), PSP
Genre: Shooter
Release Date: 12/07/2010
Developer: The Game Atelier
Publisher: The Game Atelier
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Everyone 10+
MSRP: $5.99


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